x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Dubai toddlers given career advice

At Blossom Nurseries, children as young as three have been offered career advice after telling staff what they want to be when they grow up.

Children and parents watch an animated movie about space exploration at the Dome Cinema in Dubai Boxpark. Blossom Nurseriesorganised the event to offer career advice to children’s early ambitions. Alex Atack for The National
Children and parents watch an animated movie about space exploration at the Dome Cinema in Dubai Boxpark. Blossom Nurseriesorganised the event to offer career advice to children’s early ambitions. Alex Atack for The National

DUBAI // It is never too soon for a child to start thinking about a career, at least according to a nursery in Dubai.

At Blossom Nurseries, children as young as three have been offered career advice after telling staff what they want to be when they grow up.

Youngsters were asked to add their ambitions to a “wishing tree” in each of the five city nurseries, with businesses invited to take part in the project by helping with related days out.

Common ambitions were to become an astronaut or racing driver, but there were also some more unusual career goals – becoming a food critic or working with penguins.

Nursery director Chantal Ariens said the idea aimed to encourage children to think about the future.

“Most won’t know what they want to do with their lives at this age, but we want them to use their imaginations and encourage their ambitions to help them learn,” Ms Ariens said.

“It’s not wrong for them to dream big.”

Parents got involved by inviting children into the workplace to learn about what it takes to succeed.

“We have a parent who works for the Jumeirah Group, so we wanted to help the child who wants to be a food critic by ­arranging a tasting session and to critique the hotel food,” Ms Ariens said.

Those with ambitions of going into space visited the recently-opened Dome Box theatre in Al Wasl to experience an immersive 360-degree film about astronauts. It showed the training required to venture into space, and the effects of zero gravity on the human body.

Things have come a long way since US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, when she was a young girl, famously wrote to Nasa with her ambition of becoming an astronaut and was told, “We don’t take girls”, said Dome Box manager Wael Farhat. “The dream of being an astronaut was once so far out of reach for everyone,” he said.

“Children now can live a brief moment as if in space with this experience. It is opening them up to new opportunities in life. Children don’t often have a perception of being an architect or a doctor, but this changes the more they learn about life.”

The Dome Box is equipped with haze, wind, and scent effects for a sensory experience, and shows other educational films about Africa, trees and marine life.

After the short film on astronauts, children answered questions on what they had learnt and completed physical exercises similar to those done by astronauts to stay fit in space.

Mayuko Noro, a Japanese mother who visited with her son Kotaro, 4, and daughter, Yui, 19 months, said: “I was surprised by the idea, but my son was very excited.

“His wish was to go for a ride in a rocket, so I guess this has given him an idea of what that would be like. Kotaro is interested in space, and the movie was very similar to a book he has. He recognised the astronauts and the space station. But I think he wants to be Batman when he grows up.”

Karla Hernandez, from Mexico, and her son Patricio, 4, who attends the Downtown nursery, loved the idea. “Patricio wanted to be an engineer or a physician like his father, but now he wants to be an astronaut,” Mrs Hernandez said.

“He loves science and nature, and watching documentaries.

“It is good the children are encouraged to find out more about a different way of life.”

nwebster@thenational.ae